Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday Meme

As seen at Crystal Clear....
How to play:

  • Leave a comment here that says hello.
  • Now, go visit the person who commented above you and say Hello, Charlie on the Pennsylvania Turnpike sent me.
Please play along.

You may find a new Blog or two that you'll like to visit again!

Have at it!

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How long does a gift obligation last?

My oldest son gave me a rechargeable shaver for Christmas (to be fair, he's 9, so he and my much-better-half gave it).  I've always used a blade since I was 13 or 14.   Since my early 20s, I had a cheapo, battery powered shaver in my briefcase for those times that a 5:00 shadow was especially inappropriate.
So they bought me a shaver, a pretty good one from Braun.
I really don't like it.  I find myself looking for my old trusty/rusty cheapo to touch up, sometimes right after lunch.  5:00 shadows before 2:00 aren't at all fashionable (not even to those who grew up watching Miami Vice -- which I didn't).
How long is the obligation to use a gift, even if you don't particularly like it?  They meant well, but if I have to shave twice a day with regularity, is there any real reason NOT to go back to my old blade?
On the other hand, there's the inevitable 'why aren't you using the shaver I got you' question....

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Rude Family

THE SCENE: Turkey Hill Minit Mart. Like a WaWa, or for those outside mid-Atlantic, a smaller 7-11 type establishment. Self Service gas station with 6 pumps; 4 vehicles are at the pumps; 3 with drivers pumping, one, a Dodge Durango, sits by itself. I was bringing my much_better_halfs car to fill-up (I get my gas daily in NJ, where the silly law prohibits self-service, yet the gas is $.13 cheaper than the 2.15 I pay this evening).

Two of the pumps are out of order, so I wait, expecting the Durango driver to return.

Out of the store comes a couple and 4 kids, each with a coffee or other drink. Walking slower than snails. Two of the kids are arguing, one is running and jumping about, one is glued to the mother. The 6 stand about the Durango for a more than 20 seconds, then slowly start to climb aboard.

All but one son.

Who then starts to pump the gas.

Could you be any more rude?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Well what do you know?

It's no wonder my hits are up this week!

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Who will be the lucky 10,000?

Wow! I happened to check my own stats of this humble blog.

As of 07:05 today, the hit counter shows:

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And that doesn't count my own hits at work!

Who will be luck 10,000?

Regardless, have I thanked you, the readers for dropping by lately? No? Well let me thank you now for your time and interest.

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Monday, April 25, 2005

How fast time flies

I remember well the events of 24-Apr-1981. We all were following the story of the US hostages in Iran.

As Florida Cracker so dutifully relates, it was a sad day but in the end it was the catalyst that got us to get our act together. 25 years ago today, Operation Eagle Claw put to rest the limp, lame, soft-spoken-but-no-stick-holding presidency of James Earl Carter.

We'd had as much of Jimmy Carter, and of defeat, as we could possibly bear.

Florida Cracker also notes the 30th Anniversary of Operation Babylift; this Blog admittedly was too young to recall the details of that day, nor was he taught much of that time at all in his formal education.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it's sick and getting sicker out there...

Someone quick! Remind me again why unions in general, but specifically teachers unions, are so gosh darn important and useful?

Before you answer, though, read this.

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Double Standards: The Constitutional Option

So the news reports are all about the Republicans ending the filibuster in the Senate. The so-called ‘Nuclear Option’…. Oohhhh … scary sounding. The name that clearly defines the proposal is ‘Constitutional Option’, but that doesn’t look mean on the headlines.

Not surprisingly, this is smear campaign by the main stream media.

I know, those who are my political opposites are right now howling.

“How can you say it’s a smear campaign?”

Well, simple. Let me make this perfectly clear: Republicans are not out to end the filibuster. I’ll repeat: the media is playing all of you as fools!

The Republicans are not breaking any rules. They are not changing the way things have been done for over 200 years. No sir.

About 3 years ago, Democrats began a new tact. They refused to vote judicial nominees out of committee to be voted on the entire floor of Congress. The members of the judicial committee figured that if the judge was no good in their eyes, they greater body would, of course, vote with them.

How immodest is that position? The minority party members of the committee take it upon themselves to decid for the greater body. These few Senators became the standard bearer for advice and consent. But what is this ‘advice and consent’ we hear about?

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states:

{The President} shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Notice, it does not say by and with the Advice and Consent of two thirds of the Senate.

The rules of the Senate are determine by the body itself, and are changed from time to time. What Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is doing by calling for the ‘Constitutional Option’ is to reign in the Senate that is actually breaking the existing rules for voting nominees out of committee. For over 224 years, the rules stated ‘simple majority’, not super majority. But 3 years ago, the Democrats learned a way to act like a majority despite successive Senate losses at the ballot boxes.

That’s the problem: the Democratic Senators still think they’re in the majority. Additionally, the Republican Senators forget they have a majority (arguably slim, but a majority nonetheless).

Now that the media spin has been dealt with, consider the following:

Robert Byrd, former member of the KKK and the senior Senator from the great state of West Virginia, was recently quoted as saying "We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men."

Strangely, the gentleman obviously has forgotten his own efforts to overturn Senate rules involving ‘filibustering’ in 1980.

Once again, Democrats want things both ways. And more importantly, they forget the will of the people is clear: while it can be debated that President Bush’s re-election wasn’t a mandate (I certainly think the mandate is clear), the overall trend in elections to the House and Senate clearly do show a mandate.

Adding to the ammunition in the Republican camp, Joseph Biden, plagiarist and Senior Senator of Delaware presented a compromise plan on Sunday’s Fox News Sunday to permit a certain number of the President’s nominees to have an up-or-down vote. Washington Post pundit David Broder voiced a similar proposal.

Why this change of heart? They smell blood in the water. They’re losing support in spite of the frightful ‘nuclear’ language. They are trying to say to their base ‘yeah, we lost again, but we got at least THIS much.’

The Republican majority needs to continue on their path. They need not compromise; there is nothing to compromise about! The traditions and procedures of the Senate, while not set in stone, are not to be cast aside at the discretion of the majority party, but especially not at the whim of the minority party!

Enact the Constitutional Option today. Let the nominees get their Constitutional Right to an up or down vote in front of the full Congress.

And lets get back to work.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters reports Sen., Frist may be captitulating. Will the majority ever begin to ACT like one??

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Is your head spinning from a loud guitar?

Song I'm digging at 5:00 am

If you see something that looks like a star
and it's shooting up out the ground
and your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can't escape from the sound
don't worry too much it will happen to you
We were children once playing with toys

And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound
of the low spark of high-heeled boys...

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Double Standards: Rep Tom DeLay

Unless you have been completely asleep these last few weeks, there are a number of lame accusations leveled against the Majority Whip, Tom ‘The Hammer’ DeLay. I call these accusations lame because, well, they are. As I said last week, I am not about to excuse ethical violations, and that remains my position (I challenge anyone to call me on that).

Every ethics charge leveled at Rep. DeLay can be (at least) equally leveled on damn near every other House member (in both parties). It would stand to reason that a party ought to clean its own house and set an example of ethical behavior before pointing fingers. However, the Democrats won’t because in their party, these so-called lapses are OK.

Same thing is true, of course, of the Republicans, because if they felt there was something ethically wrong with the behavior of a Democratic congressman, they’d make sure their party was clean before they cast a stone. The fact remains, in spite of my beliefs and yours, what passes as ethical in the House probably might not pass the smell test to you and me; regardless of which side is in power.

That being said, one of the charges against Rep. DeLay involves him paying his family to run his campaign and PAC. That’s it??? HE PAID HIS FAMILY??? WOW!

Do you mean he used government money to bankroll his wife and daughter??

Um… No; he used PAC and campaign monies to pay them; all legitimate, all well documented, and legal.

Another charge is that he gerrymandered the Texas districts to ensure the continued majority. EGADS!

Did he invent gerrymandering? No. Did he perfect it? No more than any other pol in the majority in any given state. Again, documented, legitimate, legal. This does not mean I condone gerrymandering: the practice has grown too precise in the golden age of computerized demographics. Somehow, I can't imagine the Founding Fathers envisioned a system that can pinpoint voters down to individual units in an apartment complex. Nevertheless, it is still legal.

I must pause now and send a shout out to Professor Jerry Mander. A nom de plume of a skilled debater, pundit, and author, he brought enlightenment and humor to many an online debate in the 1990s. His rapier-like wit stung many who only thought they knew what they were talking about (this Blog, included). I’ve lost track of the good man, and wherever he is now, I wish him well.
Another charge is that Rep. DeLay neutered the Ethics committee! He changed the rules in his favor. GASP!! WHAT DID HE DO? Well, the Panel (not simply ‘he’) voted in favor of changing the rules to avoid gridlock. Before the rules change, if the panel were deciding on whether to convene an investigation and were deadlocked (House rules mandate the panel be evenly split between parties, 5-5), the investigation would commence automatically.

Readers, if you sit before a Grand Jury and the verdict to indict you is deadlocked, your case gets kicked. This change merely eliminates partisan gridlock (whod a thunk it??). And if you are going to suggest that one party can be universally unethical, you must accept the corollary as well; I simply do not believe either party is capable of being wholly, universally unethical.

Lastly, Rep. DeLay is preventing the Ethics Panel an opportunity to convene, because he’s scared of the outcome. If anyone has any reason to fear the Ethics Committee, it is the Democrats. Washington Rep. Jim ‘Baghdad Jim’ McDermott was found guilty of distributing an illegally obtained that tape of then Speaker Newt Gingrich’s phone call. This conviction automatically triggers a ethics probe in the House. The only holdouts for the current House Ethics committee are the Democrats, who won’t permit the panel to meet.

Again: Rep. DeLay is the target of the Democrats because he is effective.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Besides, I don't look good wearing plaid

Conversation between my company's senior vice president and this

HE: So, will you be joining us at the company golf outing?

ME: No Ken. The last time I played golf I narrowly
missed the clown's nose, so I don't think my game is of the caliber for this event.

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Double Standards

The Democrats in Congress want everything both ways, but so long as it favors their party. It's OK to want everything your way, but this is still a representative republic, and there are rules here that are to be followed.  Despite that, the Democrats still want things both ways. In the next week, I'll detail a few of the ways this double standard exists.


    Part I: Congressman Tom DeLay

 Part II:  the Constitutional Option  (a/k/a 'nuclear option' -ooh! Scary!)

Part III: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich


Stay tuned...

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Look! A post

Pardon me while I test a new mobile interface:

Meanwhile, visit any of the find blogs I have listed on the right.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So much to do, so little time

On a positive note, work is getting increasingly more active, with additional responsibilities.
This means my opportunities to opine will be curtailed (including visiting other people's blogs).
Am still here, altho probably not as vocal for the foreseeable future.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pharmaceutical interuptus

Hello my name is Valencia Bankston and I'm a student Journalist. I'm doing a feature story on pharmacies refusing to prescribe birth-control. I wanted to post a couple of questions and hopefully people on this message forum could answer my questions.

Please include name, age, city and state, and occupation title.
I would really appreciate your help, you can e-mail the answers to

1. What do you think about pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions?

2. How could this affect women?

3. Did your pharmacy or anyone that you know pharmacy (sic) refuse to fill a prescription?

4. If more pharmacies refuse to fill prescriptions, what do you think will happen?

5. Do you see this as a serious problem?
Valencia Bankston

Since Valencia Bankston left the above questionnaire as a comment to this post (and also wrote to my e-mail three times), I thought I would post my response here. I've commented about this topic in other blogs, and this gives me the opportunity to address the matter here. I invite you to do the same either here or in an e-mail to Valencia .

As been mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I am a male, father of two, born before 1965, and reside in Northeast Pennsylvania (sorry, I choose not to mention the city for privacy reasons). I am a Systems Engineer by day.

1. I think it is potentially troubling but not at all a major concern at this time. Last week I spent some time on Google and Yahoo! researching this story. Since the only credible reporting of this 'problem' comes from one Washington Post article (and dozens of OpEd's commenting on it), it is hard to see how this isolated incident is a 'problem.'

2. It could affect women, and it could affect men as well. I don't see it as only affecting one gender alone, although the underlying problem of men acting like SOBs makes it far too often more of a women's problem. Despite the hype, not all men are cads (but we are pigs), and quite many do take responsibility for themselves, their mates, and their offspring. However, as this particular issue is only an isolated incident, it's not that big a deal for either gender.

3. No. And since a search of Yahoo! News, Google News, and the AP wire can only present one credible reporting of the story, its not likely many people will truthfully answer this question in the affirmative.

4. As I read the WP article, one pharmacist at one pharmacy had the problem with the filling of the script. As such, there hasn't been a 'pharmacy' per se that has refused to fill the script. This question is moot, unless evidence to the contrary can be presented.

5. Do I think one pharmacist is a problem? No.

Quite frankly, this is much ado about very little. I live in rural Pennsylvania. Within a 7 mile radius of my home there is a CVS, a Rite Aid and an Ekerd pharmacy. There are no less than 4 pharmacies within supermarkets and one inside a K-mart, plus no fewer than 2 independent pharmacies inside that same circle.

10 pharmacies, 7 miles, and the nearest 'city' is more than 25 miles away (and probably dozens of pharmacies in between). Supply and Demand rule the day again; I cannot fathom all of these pharmacies deciding to take a stand against prescribing birth control. If K-Mart, for example, says no, RiteAid will hold up a banner saying 'We Welcome K-Mart Customers.' It just doesn't make economic sense to do otherwise.

People have said 'if you're a pharmacist that won't write these scripts, you're in the wrong profession', and to some extent I'll give that point credit. If Pharmacist Phil won't fill your script, complain to pharmacy Manager Mary. If you can't get your scripts at pharmacy 'A', take your dollars to pharmacy 'B'. YOU will put 'A' out of business (at least to that extent). Pharmacies that don't take such a view will be easy to find (and I haven't even mentioned mail-order pharmacies). It is that simple.

There are many people calling for legislation to force pharmacies to comply, but there is clearly no present danger of this issue rising to such levels. Doing so would further government involvement in an area it simply doesn't belong. Case in point: Catholic hospitals don't perform abortions, yet this clearly doesn't present a problem for access to this procedure.

Incidentally, I've e-mailed Valencia my response and a request for information regarding this 'feature story', and I will report back any response I get.

UPDATE: Leave it to my readers to point out when I am wrong.

My search last week did only produce one WP article on one pharmacist refusing to fill a script for birth control; today I see there are more incidents (see here and here).

Once again, these are a few incidents, and nothing the free market cannot handle on its own.

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Random Musings

  1. Congressman Tom DeLay: No one in the GOP (save the President) has been vilified as much as Rep DeLay since the days of former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Why? He, like Gingrich, is effective. Since everything Rep. DeLay is accused of are matters that are well documented, there is really nothing I see that is wrong or patently unethical. Hiring his family? Since it wasn't public monies paying for it, so what? Did they pay taxes on the income? Enough said. Going on junkets? If I had my way, probably 60% or more of all junkets and the like would be ELIMINATED. Does that mean he's 'unethical'? No. "He gerrymandered Texas!" So? Show me one pol that didn't engage in that age-old practice; the difference being with computerized demographics, its painfully accurate these days.

    But does he do the job he was elected to perform, and he does it damn well. THAT is the reason he is such a target.

    Ethics do matter. I hesitated to write this post because I am afraid I sound like 'Congressman so-and-so of the DNC did this, so DeLay should be given a pass.' No ethical violations should be given a pass; but to date, everything that Congressman DeLay is accused of is out in the open, well documented, and legal. Change the law if you have a problem with behavior, but defeat the person at the ballot box if you simply despise him.

  2. Senator Hillary R. Clinton: A lot has been written about the former first-lady and esteemed junior senator of the great state of NY (my birthplace). Six years ago I found her name registered as a presidential candidate on the FEC website, so I knew back then she had plans to run for president. And why not? She has public experience, has had a hand in running the office (remember the first 'co-presidency'?), and - no question about it - she can win.

    This doesn't mean she should win. Already the MSM is painting her as moving toward the center, when there's nothing in her legislative record to justify such a review. Remember, this is a Senator who once tried to put 1/7 of the nations GDP under federal control... no leopard changes spots that quickly. And the hateful rhetoric she speaks belies the claims that she speaks for all people. It is one thing to put out an agenda for action while pointing out the political short-comings of your opponents; it is quite another to use shrill language when attacking your opponents, especially when your agenda is sorely lacking.

  3. John Bolten: So what we have is a case against Mr. Bolten for US ambassador to the United Nations because he takes a firm hand in managing his office. Lets think for a moment: the UN has been repeatedly anti-US for several years, calls us 'cheap' with our charitable works, squanders billions in aid, passively condones the atrocities in the Balkans, Sudan, and other places.... yeah, I think it's time for a firm manager to represent our interests.

  4. MinuteMen: Well another week is almost done, and the MSM still can't find any fault with the Minute Men, other than that they exist, patrolling the Arizona border with Mexico. You have to wonder what is on people's agenda when they try so hard to find fault with another's activities. Clearly, the only trouble that the Minute Men face is being infiltrated by those who look to do harm to the illegal immigrants. Sure, that's why critics say the patrolling should be left to the professionals.A pity the professionals are wholly under funded. Mores the pity President Bush calls the Minute Men 'vigilantes', instead of merely 'vigilant'.

  5. Spring is here In Mid-Atlantic region, spring is indeed here. Hope you are enjoying the weather in your world, too.

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Aggita From Gas

Ok, so gas prices are high. No news there. If you listen to the news, you'd swear they are the highest they've ever been, and in an illogical manner, they are just that. And depending on who you read, it is all President Bush's fault, too.

Well here I go, dispelling these rumors. First of, let me state for the record I DO NOT ENJOY THESE GAS PRICES. I drive about 1100 miles per week, so I am spending about $100 per week on gas (not to mention tolls), so don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about (I welcome your comments and criticisms, but don't use that tired excuse, ok?).

That much said... these prices, however high they've become, are not the highest they've ever been. Adjusted for inflation, and there's little reason NOT to make this adjustment, the prices were higher in 1980 than they are today. You may not wish to admit it, but facts are facts.

Why are they so high now? Simple, irrefutable law of Supply and Demand rules the day (as laws are wont to do). Right now, Americans drive a lot. And not only in big, honking SUVs, but in general, we all drive a lot. Sure, SUVs don't help the situation, but they aren't the curse they're made out to be. Rather, they are another in a series of attempts to demonize those that can afford them (but that's another thread altogether). American's always have driven a lot and will continue to do so; that's not quite a 'law', but it is a safe bet.

China is buying thousands of barrels more of oil this year than last. Some suggest they're stock-piling in in their deserts (it won't go bad!), others say they're using it to build their naval fleet. I don't pretend to know the answer here, but it is a matter for our Intelligence community to research.

That's the demand side of the equation. The Supply side is hampered here at home, once again. Here's a quiz:

Which state has built a new oil refining plant in the last 20 years?

a) Texas

b) Alaska

c) Hawaii

d) Pennsylvania

BUZZZ The answer, of course, is e) NONE OF THE ABOVE. We have not added new capacity to our refining system in 20 years. Yet AAA (as well as common sense) will tell you there are more cars on the road today than in the 1980s, and we're driving further than ever. Supply and Demand can't be ignored! So even when we eventually have the ANWAR oil online, while it will help produce healthy competition to the Saudis, it won't be enough to dramatically lower prices if we don't create more refineries to process it.

The senior US Senator from the great state of New York, Charles Schumer, has repeatedly called for the release of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve. For starters, that would decrease the amount of said oil in reserve during a TIME OF WAR (perhaps he hasn't kept up on the news?). More importantly, if our refineries are working at full-tilt, exactly what good would this drop in the proverbial drop in the bucket accomplish? Nothing, sad to say. You'd think an experienced Senator would know this stuff.

Want an easy way to give relief to consumers all across the country? Easy! The US Senate should call for an end to the GORE TAX, the gas tax passed in 1993 by a deciding vote of Vice President Al Gore. The Republican Majority is long over due for acting like they are in the majority. Something like this is tangible, visible and makes COMMON SENSE. Its high time to eliminate the high taxes on fuel, and this tax should be the easiest to eliminate in this political climate.

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In search of food.

Trying to find Chinatown
Trying to find Chinatown

On Saturday late-afternoon, my much better half, kids and I were out doing our thing, which was part-errand running, part enjoyment of the gorgeous Spring day. But the day was getting long, and we all were getting hungry.

A hungry man
Can hold out a long time
For some soul food
Good food, whole food
I know I was that man
Maybe sometimes hold out a little too long

After pulling a Chinese restaurant menu from the glove compartment, she jots down an order of food and asks me to call it in. She is perfectly capable of making calls herself, but if I am around, I always get the call-duty. So this wasn't unusual.

ME: Which restaurant am I calling?
SHE: The one I like... in the Wal-Mart plaza.
ME: Okay.
SHE: Here's their coupon; do you want egg rolls or soup?
ME: That place now offers a choice? Their coupons were always for 2 bucks off.
SHE: No they weren't. Always soup or egg rolls. Which one do you want?
ME: Egg rolls are fine with me.
It should be noted I wasn't convinced, but didn't want to argue. Despite what some readers have suggested, I don't always debate every issue. Besides, I was hungry, so I knew it was a bad idea to get into anything remotely argumentative. I made the call, placed the order. 15 minutes. So we head off in that direction.

I took a right
Then I took a wrong turn
Someone asked me for a quarter
It didn't seem to fit
He didn't look too much like a Chinaman

Trying to find Chinatown
Trying to find Chinatown

15 minutes later. Pull into a parking spot, and get out.

ME: Hi, I am picking up an order.
Gal: You called in an order?
ME: Yes. Ticket 2062.
Gal: We have no orders waiting, and our last number was 525.
ME: Wait a second.. isn't this...

I pulled out the coupon out of my pocket, and noticed the stack of menus in front of me, and noticed immediately that my coupon doesn't match the one on their menu.

I notice that the stack in front of me offers a $2 discount on orders over $20. I apologize and leave with my tail between my legs, and head back to the car.

An old black man
Pushing a shopping trolley
Filled with tin cans
Avoided his glance
I'm nervous and I'm lost
And I don't see too many restaurants

SHE: What happened? The order isn't ready yet?
ME: Nope; wrong place.
SHE: What do you mean? This is my favorite place!
ME: Maybe it is, but it isn't where I called. Where's that menu? This is the place in the next town.
SHE: Oops.... sorry.

So we drive to the next town... find the right place... it's now more than 20 minutes since I called in the order. I go in.

ME: Hi, I am picking up an order. # 2062
Gal: Yes, # 2062. 10
more minutes.

It just wasn't my day...

A guy laid out
With a knife in his back
A cop came along
Told him, move on
Go home and sleep it off
I didn't know if I should get involved

Trying to find Chinatown
Trying to find Chinatown

Joe Jackson
Night and Day

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Define 'excellence'

Seen at Ipse Dixit, who saw it at OTB:
"Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, and Jon Stewart have won Peabody Awards for excellence in broadcasting.... Apparently, there was no category for which Michael Moore was eligible." - James Joyner

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Something is up with Blogger

This post may not make it.  Three others were sent mail-to-post earlier in the day and haven't shown up,  Directly posting isn't working (502 server error).

So if this shows up, and there are redundent posts ahead of it, their servers are to blame.

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Of Expectant Moms

KC Lemson is a genius when it comes to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. I've learned more from reading her blog than I have in all the years I've tinkered with these two industry standards.

She annoucned that she and her husband are expecting their second child, and she has provided rules for those who might interact with a pregnant woman, and I would suggest they are required reading (gals and guys).

Back in the day when I worked in a bank (I was a Teller, HeadTeller, CSR, and spent a few years in Audit), I once saw an incident that taught me not to ever speak of pregnancies... especially if the woman hasn't mentioned it directly to me.

In the bank cafeteria, one guy asked a gal 'So ... when are you due.'

A pity she wasn't expecting. This was during the lunch hours, and he was obnoxiously loud, so everyone heard him

'DUE FOR WHAT?' she said, in an understandably cold tone.

'Er,... for that promotion? When are you due for that promotion?? Hey look at the time, I gotta go...'

I learned then and there to keep such questions to myself. Unless and until I see an announcement of a baby shower, I don't dare say anything.

And really, people ought to keep their comments to themselves in general. I know lots of couples who were badgered with questions of 'So when are you having kids?' and the like, and this was at their wedding reception! It only got worse after their honeymoon. And in more than one instance, I knew that the couple were TRYING to get pregnant and weren't successful, and these busy-bodies weren't helping the stress factor.

And then there are the couples who go through a miscarriage; you see, too many questions from too many (presumably well-meaning) people can be quite hurtful.

Best to leave the gal to herself. If she's expecting and wants to inform you, she'll let you know. Then click on KC's post and learn what NOT to say.

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Military Justice

For those who are concerned whether the Military Courts can properly police their own:

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - An Airman here was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, 19 years confinement, reduction to Airman Basic and forfeiture of all pay and allowances by a general court-martial March 29.Master Sgt. Bart Lipscomb, from the 86th Maintenance Squadron, was convicted of one charge of sodomy with a female younger than 12 between January 2000 and March 2004, and one charge of sodomy with a female between 12 and 16 from March to July 2004. --

Makes me wonder what kind of sentence he would have gotten as a civilian...

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Nanosecond Notes

  • President Carter excluded from Papal funeral: For starters, Mr. Carter's biggest claim here is that he hosted the Pontiff at the White House in 1979 during his first trip to the USA. While that is remarkable enough, he was voted out of office about a year later. Presidents Bush (41) worked with the Pope during President Reagan's administration and his own; President Clinton was in office for 8 years, and of course President Bush (43) is in office now.

    Furthermore, President Carter could easily represent the US at Prince Rainer's funeral in Monaco.

  • Don't DeLay, Pile On! That seems to be the theme in the MSM these days. To hear how the news is reported on ABC Radio news, you'd think Congressman DeLay has blood on his hands regarding an overseas trip and how it was financed. Fortunately, David Frum of National Review gives a credible accounting of Mr. DeLay's trip, and points out that despite the sound-bite spin mentality of the MSM, the Washington Post makes it clear he did nothing wrong.

  • Polls Predict Pope: The media reports on what the polls say American's want in their next Pope.

    As if US Catholics had such importance in the Church that their opinions would sway the Cardinals. For starters, it wasn't very long ago that people worried President Kennedy would be swayed by the Pope; do you think the Europeans (whom, we are told, positively dislike the US) are interested in our opinions? Do you think the Cardinals are going to base their decision on what 6% of their Church thinks on matters of such worldwide importance?

    Besides, what with the alleged propensity to squash religion in the public square (and then calling it 'Constitutional'), do you think the rest of the world wants to be seen as exporting such a callous disrespect for Catholicism?

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Could be worse

During last evening's Tae Kwon Do class, we did some Hapkido practice.

Hapkdio (the art of no resistance) offers serval defense moves in order to use a would-be attackers weight against them. Typically are Hapkido practice comes near the end of our hour of class.

The practice involved dealing with 'choke-holds from behind', and my partner was Kyosanim -- a 1st Dan (1st degree black belt) -- who approached from my rear and threw her arm around my neck. Now there is a simple and easy way to get out of this hold, but I didn't need to do anything particular:

SHE: Ewwww!! You're all sweaty
ME: Oops... well, yes. Sorry Ma'am.
SHE: How does a person sweat so much?
ME: It could be worse... you could be married to me!
SHE: Forget that!!
How is that for 'no resistance'??

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Sen. John Kerry distorts the truth. Again.

Senator Frist and Vice President Cheney may soon try to make Bush judicial nominations immune to Senate filibuster.

A pity that isn't true, but it sure does sound scary, don't you think?

Get an early look at tomorrows USA TODAY ad by clicking here.

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Remembering JPII

I was in high school, in an all boys Catholic High School in Queens (if you know the area, you probably know which school). It wasn't long after John Paul II was elevated as Pope, and a limited number of tickets were made available to our school for a seat at Madison Square Garden to see him on his first US tour. Out of all who entered the drawing, my name was among the 20 or so who were picked to get a ticket.

I have been to the Garden a number of times since that day, and saw many rock and roll shows (yes, yes, there was that also that one time I was there to see Lionel Richie, but lets not dwell on that ok??), but never did the Garden rock as much as it did that day. Some 19 or 20,000 people, mostly kids, attended for a prayer service, songs, Q&A and what seemed to be nonstop cheering.

I think 'the wave' was either conceived that day, or at least came to popularity. The entire crowd standing and sitting sequentially; remember, as common as it appears to the reader these days, this was 1979, and at least to this Blog and those sitting around him, it was amazing to watch.

The event lasted far longer than the program stated, and during what I consider screams of joy and praise that went on for almost an hour uninterrupted, I recall the Pontiff and Terrence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of the NY Diocese, exchanged a few words while sitting on the dais. John Paul, II stood up at the mic, and with the raising of his hand quieted the crowd in an instant. Referring probably to the chat he and the Cardinal just had, he spoke
"Cardinal Cooke says 'no more.'"

Predictably, the crowds exploded again, and the cheering went on for another 10 or so minutes before he quieted us down and the program concluded as planned. I've been enamored by him since, and while it may be considered 'too little, too late' I do intend on reading some of his many works (long-time readers know This Blog is notoriously lax at reading either fiction or non-fiction).

My mother still has the pennant I purchased at the concessions stand hanging on the wall, commemorating the day. Other people bought t-shirts, but this hangs on the wall 26 years later. My oldest son can look at it and know I was there.

It isn't much, really, but it really is something significant.

At my office today I was involved in a discussion about the next Pope.
"He should be a lot less strict" was the majority view, but that just isn't right. Being Pope isn't playing to the polls, its about being Pope. I remember seeing Mario Cuomo on TV over the weekend, while I was channel surfing. I think it was MSNBC, it may have been with Chris Matthews; regardless, the former NY Governor described his ideal Pope would be one more modern, more in tune with the Evangelicals.

The question that blurted from my lips was: why should a Catholic be like an Evangelical? Really, if an Evangelical Church is more to your liking, then be an Evangelical. The Catholic Church has endured for so long precisely because it has maintained its core beliefs. If any institution, much less than the Church, changed and swayed with the polls, it wouldn't exactly be an institution, would it?

If you want the Church to be more 'Evangelical', perhaps an Evangelical Church is what you're really looking to call your spiritual home.

What will the next Pope be like? Time will tell, indeed.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

God has blessed us...

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that we have known John Paul, II

More on this sad day later.

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